I may have mentioned this before on here about how I manage co-parenting with Olivia’s dad. I very rarely discuss my life as a single parent. Having been living this way for over 7 years now to me it is just life. The way it is. It’s not good or bad. It’s my life. Yes it gets hard and frustrating and at times it can be ridiculously lonely. But we get up. Olivia goes to school life goes on.
There has always been a healthy co-parenting relationship between myself and Olivia’s dad. We have always got on (except for around a year when he met someone who wasn’t a fan of our relationship. Things broke down and we have both worked really hard to regain that trust and try to get back to how it was). A nice good happy healthy relationship. So healthy in fact I went for a coffee with him and his mum recently when we were waiting to watch Olivia in her Romeo and Juliet debut.
We discussed Christmas presents, Olivia’s behaviour. I laughed at him with his mum. I even gave the man my old Christmas tree and decorations! They are a big part of Olivia’s life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Then the conversation hit a sore point. Something I never thought would happen is now going to go ahead and we discussed it. The three of us.
As part of our self arranged days to have Olivia we also try to share holidays as fair as possible (he is paying for Olivia to go away with us all next year and renewing her passport too! I know I am very lucky). Christmas has for the past few years anyway, always been Christmas eve with his mum, dad, brother. Wake up Christmas morning with me and then either dinner with me and dads in the evening overnight to boxing day with a morning visit or dinner with dad and evening with me and boxing day too. New Year is usually me unless he doesn’t have plans.
The rule was this would stand until she was old enough to make up her own mind. This year is that year. Honestly? I never thought she would vary from this routine. But she asked, well rather told me this year would be different. She would wake up with her dad on Christmas day. I just looked at her. I felt like I had been hit by a truck, never in a million years did I expect this, not this soon anyway. Still sat here writing this I don’t think I’ve fully accepted it. The reality of having a childless Christmas morning is daunting and quite frankly terrifying. I’m not sure I’m ready for this.
But I can’t back down can I? I can’t go back on my word, after all I do believe he does deserve this time with her but I’m selfish and no matter how great our relationship is this is new territory for both of us. Him for making sure she has a great Christmas regardless of where she wakes up and me, well I know I’ll be fine. I’ve made plans to stay with one of my sisters and her 2 daughters. However it’s not quite the same is it? Took me by complete surprise and I’m not ashamed to say I’m not happy about it. What parent would be but she has made her choice and I accept it.
But as hard as it will be for me (ever the drama queen I know!) I won’t be the first and I won’t be the last. Below are some quotes from other bloggers on their experiences on not having their children at home to wake up with on Christmas morning.
Bloggers Co-Parenting Christmas.
Amy from Amy Being Mum
The first Xmas I didn’t have my daughter (she was at her dads) I was really upset in the run up and knew I had to keep busy! My family all had plans so I decided I would volunteer at a homeless shelter for Xmas day serving Xmas lunch!! I’m not joking I applied to 5 and they all said thanks but no thanks they had enough volunteers!! I ended up going to a friends but I won’t lie it’s tough being without your kids on Xmas day.
Kate from Counting to Ten.
Last year I had my daughter (who is now 5) Christmas Eve and Christmas morning which are the best bits, this year I will get her for a few hours in the middle of the day. I feel there will be a part of me missing and it won’t be the same waking up and seeing her stocking just waiting for her. I’ll have my baby so won’t get to sleep late or enjoy a leisurely breakfast, but I feel some of the magic will be missing.
Mandy from Mandy Charlton – Photographer, Writer, Blogger.
This year my older daughter (aged 14) who lives with dad will be coming over on Christmas morning. My son and younger daughter (ages 20 and 13) will wake up with me. It is far from ordinary but then I’ve hated every second since my older daughter moved to dads (she went because it meant she got her own bedroom). I guess I just have to try and appreciate the fact that I’ll actually have all of my kids together for Christmas lunch and know it’s just one day.
Louise from My Three and Me.
From the other side, this is our first Christmas with my Stepson – he lives in Ireland with his mum (she moved there when he was 3). We have not been able to see him over Christmas before now (we’ve been together 11 years in February). His brothers can’t wait to spend Christmas together. It is going to be so lovely for us after all this time to have a Christmas altogether.
Jayne from Kids Kicks and Cloth.
I’ve done it every other year for the last 9 years and it ruins Xmas for me. I can’t get excited, I’m miserable and the last year we did it my mum and dad were away too. So last year I asked her what she wanted to do and she decided to stay with us. It’s just not the same. Christmas if you’re not religious like me is about family and when your child isn’t there it’s pretty bleak. This year she is refusing to stay over Xmas eve, but even so she will be gone most of the day and my partner is rostered to work.
Danielle from Blog by Baby.
I done this when my eldest two were younger and my other two weren’t born. Me and their dad had alternate Christmas days. I would always make Christmas on a different day for us to enjoy as if it was Christmas day. I tried to keep myself busy Christmas day, but as a single parent I didn’t want to invade other people’s happy family Christmas (despite invites to join some). But looking back I should have gotten out and been sociable.
I am pretty sure my nieces will keep me occupied this Christmas day morning and I’m hoping the youngest doesn’t stick to her threat of making me sleep in the garden. Only time will tell how I feel and cope when it actually arrives. Olivia is so excited to be waking up with her dad I feel like the grinch for not being happy for her. It’s always going to be a tough one. Christmas without your kids especially the first time but reading other peoples experiences has made me feel no quite so alone.
Do you share custody of your kids over the holidays? What do you do to keep yourself busy when you don’t have them around on Christmas morning? I would love to hear your tips, stories or your thoughts on anything discussed in this post.